SCORES & STANDINGS | BLACK | BLUE | RED | WHITE | PLAYER NOTES
There is some congestion at the top of the 18U Black Division, but one of the teams has a chance to change that with a single victory in Las Vegas. Thanks to four wins in December, Florida Krush Black (FL) is just two points out of first place entering the final weekend of the season. That makes it a pretty simple formula for the Florida side, as it can win the division by picking up three points and holding off the rest of the teams playing in Vegas.
The two teams currently tied for first are Nationals Union 99 Black (MI) and CUP Gold 99 (OH-S). The two sides tied, 1-1, when they met on the final day of play in Orlando. Because of that head-to-head draw and a slight edge in goal differential, Nationals Union currently holds the tiebreaker advantage. That would give the Michigan side the division title should no team manage to catch the current co-leaders.
CUP still has a shot to claim the title, but it will need Utah FC 99 Black (UT) to climb into a three-way tie with it and Nationals Union when all is said and done in Las Vegas. There is also an outside chance Santa Clara Sporting 99 Green (CA-N) could claim the title. However, the Cal North side will need to win all three remaining games and get some help in the other contests.
Game to Watch
March 17, Florida Krush Black (FL) vs. Utah FC 99 Black (UT)
Results on the first day of play could produce a wide range of possibilities — from the crowning of a division champion to five teams still being alive with hopes of topping the group. Florida Krush could potentially wrap up the division with a win and the right result in the other Friday contest. Meanwhile, a Utah victory would mean that it remains in contention for the title. Utah FC will need to slow down a dangerous Florida attack, which averages four goals per game, in order to come away with a victory.
Entering the final weekend of play, three teams are within six points of the leader in the 18U Blue Division. Syracuse Development Academy (NY-W) is currently in first place after finishing its season in Orlando with three straight wins. The New York West side will need the right combination of results in Las Vegas in order to hold on to that position.
A big problem for Syracuse is TSC Showcase (TN), which is just two points back of first place with three games left to play. TSC outscored opponents, 14-to-4, in North Carolina and needs just one victory in Las Vegas to move past Syracuse.
Meanwhile, Cleveland FC (OH-N) and LA Galaxy SD Elite 99 (CA-S) each have eight points in the standings, which places them six behind Syracuse. Both teams tied, 1-1, in their December matchups against the New York West side, so every goal scored in Las Vegas could prove to be vital should tiebreakers come into play. Before that can happen, they’ll have to knock off TSC, which is clearly in the driver’s seat entering the final weekend.
Game to Watch
March 18, LA Galaxy SD Elite 99 (CA-S) vs. TSC Showcase (TN)
No matter what happens on Friday, TSC cannot clinch the division title. That means this matchup could be the one where the Tennessee side secures first place, or it could see the division standings tighten up — setting up some thrilling games on the final day of the season. LA Galaxy knows how to perform in big games, as the team is the defending US Youth Soccer National Champions. It also captured the Blue Division title a year ago, so don’t be surprised if it gives TSC all it can handle in this matchup.
The 18U Red Division is one of the most competitive in this National League season, as just seven points separate first from last entering the final weekend of the season. All four teams competing in Las Vegas have a shot to win the division, but each has work to do if it wants to finish on top.
UFA 99 Premier (GA) has 11 points, which is currently good enough to put it at the top of the table. However, UFA will have to hope it can hold off some hard-charging teams who have sights on winning the division.
La Roca Premier PO (UT) and Legends FC 99 Academy (CA-S) each have eight points entering the final weekend and could move past UFA with a single victory. La Roca is looking to claim its second straight Red Division title and earn a ticket back to the National Championships, where it fell in the final a year ago.
PDA Shore 99 (NJ) and Classics Eagles Red (OH-S) are also still in the mix with six and five points, respectively. However, they have a smaller margin for error and will likely need every point possible to finish in first place.
Game to Watch
March 19, La Roca Premier PO (UT) vs. Legends FC 99 Academy (CA-S)
It’s always exciting when a season comes down to the final day and a winner-take-all game, which could be the case with this matchup. On top of that, both teams have a history of national success that adds to the intrigue. La Roca and Legends met in the 2015 National Championship final, which the Cal South side won, 2-1, with a stoppage-time goal. That marked Legends 99’s second National Championship, while La Roca is still looking for its first after coming up one goal short the last two years. With so much experience on each team, this has the makings of a can’t-miss game.
Some impressive performances from the teams in Orlando created a gap between the top of the table and the sides with games left to play. FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA-E) came away with a key 2-0 victory over Kings Hammer Academy Red (OH-S) on the final day in Orlando to secure the 18U White Division title. That win capped a 6-0-1 campaign that saw Penn Strikers conceded just two goals while recording five clean sheets.
Despite an impressive 16 points, Kings Hammer had to settle for second place in the group after the defeat to Penn Strikers.
The games in Las Vegas will provide the teams with an opportunity to build some momentum heading into US Youth Soccer National Championship Series action. Albion SC White (CA-S) will have the chance to string together some wins and get back to the form it was in when the team earned a second-place finish in last year’s 16U Blue Division.
Game to Watch
March 18, Albion SC White (CA-S) vs. DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S)
Albion has shown in the past that it is capable of earning some results in National League play, as it was just a few points away from the division title a year ago. That may be out of reach this season, but this game will still give Albion the chance to compete against an in-state foe in DMCV. As a club, the Sharks have enjoyed recent success on the national stage, and this team will be looking to replicate that with a strong finish to the season in Las Vegas.
Kara Kyramarios (Florida Krush) was on the Florida 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.
Isabel Dehakiz (Legends 99 Academy) was on the Cal South 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.
Avrie Fox (LA Galaxy San Diego) was on the Cal South 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.
Jalyn Lupo (Albion SC) was on the Cal South 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.
Karlie Paschall (Tennessee SC) was named to the 2016 NSCAA Youth Girls All-America Team.
Karlie Paschall (Tennessee SC) and Alexandra Catanzarite (Syracuse Development Academy) were named to the 2016 NSCAA High School Girls All-America Team.